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With the Fiscal 2019 budget request, the Air Force is beginning an overhaul of its bomber fleet, planning to extend the B-52 beyond 90 years of service while retiring its younger B-1s and B-2s earlier than planned, in the early 2030s, as it brings on stealthy new B-21 aircraft. The Air Force is eyeing a bomber fleet of roughly 175 aircraft overall, although service officials said that number could go up with more generous budgets.
The younger bombers would be retired early because the Air Force believes it must live with a bomber enterprise manpower footprint that is not much larger than it is now, meaning the new B-21 must replace—and not be additive to—much of the existing bomber fleet.
The Air Force had previously planned to operate the B-1 and B-52 until 2040, and the B-2 to 2058.